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Artists paint the town for the Plein Air Arts Fest

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Since mid-August, painters have been gathering at locations all over town and in the Foothills for paint outs planned by the Golden Triangle Museum District as part of the Plein Air Arts Fest. Today's paint-out on the 16th Street Mall is one of the last in the ten-part series before the closing event on Sunday.

See also: - Artists take their easels outdoors for the Denver Plein Air Arts Fest - 2012 Denver Plein Air Arts Festival Exhibition - Today in Stoke: Photographer Ian Shive's The National Parks: Our American Landscape

"Plein air is when the artists paint outside, they set up an easel and then they have to paint what they see and they have to finish the piece in one standing," explains Robin Riddel Lima, executive director of the GTMD.

In celebration of the hundred anniversary of Denver Mountain Parks, parks along the Lariat Loop -- including Red Rocks, Evergreen Lake and the Buffalo Herd Overlook in Genessee Park -- were included in this year's event. "They've been so excited about the artists coming to the parks to paint that they've asked that they participate again next year," Lima says.

Maybe all those lovely mountain locations soured participants on the urban settings. Because this morning, Heather Arenas seemed to be the only artist taking advantage of the morning light on the 16th Street Mall. "It's motivation more than anything," Arenas says. "You tend to get yourself stuck in your studio for too long, and painting from life is the best way to improve as an artist -- so I figure it's a reason to get out."

Arenas chose a shady spot just off the mall, where the sun was peeking out between structures. "The light behind the buildings is really nice," she explains. "There's a lot of atmosphere effect there, so we'll see if I can come out with a successful painting."

The final paint-out will be Sunday, September 16 at the Mt. Vernon Country Club from 3 to 5 p.m.; artists can still register. Any artist who participates in the Plein Air Arts Fest can submit work created during the event for consideration for an exhibit that will run at the Denver Central Library's Vida Ellison Gallery from November 13 to December 31. The deadline for submissions is September 22.

All the art in the juried show will be for sale, and profits will be divided among the artists and the GMTD's cost of producing the event -- with a portion also donated to Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation's dictionary drive, which provides dictionaries and thesauruses to third-grade classes in Denver Public Schools.

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